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Behind the scenes of NowThis’ first podcast, which takes a close look at Mitch McConnell and debuts Tuesday

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Behind the scenes of NowThis’ first podcast, which takes a close look at Mitch McConnell and debuts Tuesday

Category : entrepreneur

  • Group Nine Media’s NowThis drops its first podcast “Who Is?” on Tuesday.
  • The show, based on NowThis’ “Who Is?” video series, takes a close look at some of the most powerful people in the US government. The first episode focuses on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
  • NowThis producers told Business Insider the show capitalizes on the audio-only medium of podcasting to bring readers closer to the political narratives than they can in the video series. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NowThis is the latest digital publisher to stretch into podcasting.

Its debut podcast “Who Is?” launches Tuesday with an episode exploring the career of Mitch McConnell on the 35 th anniversary of his election to the US Senate.

The show — which is produced as part of parent company Group Nine Media’s exclusive podcast deal with iHeartMedia — serves as an extension of the NowThis video series of the same name. 

The miniseries, now in its fifth season, is a biographical exploration of figures in the Trump administration narrated by celebrities like Clay Aiken, America Ferrera, and Alyssa Milano. 

But the podcast will be much more conversational than the video series, according NowThis editor and executive producer Sarah Frank. While the show is carried by voiceover and built based only on secondary research, the podcast promises a closer look at some of the most powerful people in politics. 

“We’re really able to hear these stories from some primary sources rather than just researching,” Frank told Business Insider.

During the first episode, “Who Is?” host and NowThis senior producer and correspondent Sean Morrow speaks with reporters from ProPublica, The New Republic, and other publications about McConnell’s path to becoming Senate majority leader.

These national reporters are experts on the figures they cover, but Morrow said so are the local journalists who have also covered politicians from their area since the start of their political careers.

John Cheves, a government accountability reporter at the Lexington Herald Leader, tells Morrow about his experience interviewing one of McConnell’s political science students who was in the room when McConnell told the class that money was the key to success in politics. 

Later in the season, Morrow said he also talks to lawyers who have worked on cases involving the political figures in question, and even a United Nations investigator who looked into one of the politicians.

Political narratives make for a smooth transition from video to audio, according to NowThis producers

Video often is not available for inside stories like these, which makes podcasting the ideal platform for telling them, Morrow said.

As NowThis works to familiarize itself with audio-only content, Frank said the outlet’s success with video will help the podcast stand out as the market saturates with shows from other media outlets, independent creators, and companies like Wondery that work exclusively in podcasting.

“We really understand that we have to grab our audience’s attention and hold their attention,” Frank said. “We have to earn the audience’s time, make a story compelling, and make it something they want to share.”

Viewers share NowThis’ video content primarily over social media, but Frank said word-of-mouth plays a bigger role in spreading audio content like podcasts. The first episode spotlighting McConnell will build on the “Who Is?” video audience and draw in a larger demographic of people who recognize the name of the Senate majority leader.

While McConnell has much political power, Frank said many people don’t know exactly what his position entails. He’s also up for reelection in a year, and he’ll face off against a Democratic challenger from his own home state: Marine fighter pilot and Kentucky mom Amy McGrath.

McConnell’s name recognition coupled with the timely release of the podcast as the race for his Senate seat heats up a year ahead of the election made him an easy pick for the show’s debut, according to Frank.

“He just wields enormous influence,” Frank said.

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Sammy Singh

Global VC, Founder, and entrepreneur extraordinaire as featured in Inc. Magazine, Bloomberg, and Forbes. Sammy Singh is a graduate of UCLA and Wharton School of Business as well as a former student of Loyola University of Chicago. Sammy is best known as a renowned financial technology global entrepreneur and has founded over 26 different firms across industry and all over the world. He is a venture capitalist,a TV/ Film actor, tax specialist, and marketing solutions strategist. Connect with Sammy Singh on social media below! www.linkedin.com/in/cfo www.instagram.com/champagnegqpapi www.facebook.com/officialsammysingh www.twitter.com/cxosynergy www.medium.com/@sammysingh www.crunchbase.com/sammysingh

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